The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the fastest growing and most innovative sports league, today announced the finalization of its 2021 roster. The additions of welterweights Gleison Tibau, Alexei Kunchenko and Jason Ponet; featherweights Chris Wade and Anthony Dizy, women’s lightweights Kaitlin Young and Taylor Guardado; and light heavyweight Nick Roehrick, complete the 60 fighter lineup that will be battling for six divisional titles and the million-dollar prize that comes with each.
Tibau and Kunchenko are both UFC veterans who enter the PFL with high expectations, both in the welterweight division. Tibau (35-14) has fought many of the best fighters the sport has ever seen during his 20-plus year career including Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Kunchenko (20-2) is a former M-1 world champion who has never been finished in his 22 professional fights.
PFL fans will recognize Wade (17-6, 5-3 in PFL) as a two-time playoff competitor in the lightweight division. He will make the move down to 145-pounds (145 pounds) in hopes of challenging Lance Palmer for divisional supremacy.
A pair of French fighters will also be heading to the PFL cage in 2021. Both Dizy (13-3) and Ponet (20-12-1) bring a wealth of international experience to the organization. The Frenchmen will be the first to compete in the PFL and will help to continue the league’s expansion into rapidly growing European markets.
Young (11-10-1) joins the PFL as a highly respected pioneer of women’s MMA. She burst onto the scene back in 2007 when she one the Hook N Shoot Women’s tournament with three knockouts in one night including a head-kick KO of future UFC champion Miesha Tate. She will be joined in the women’s lightweight division by Taylor (0-1).
Roehrick (9-1) is a well-rounded mixed martial artist who hails from Florida. In his nine wins he has garnered four finishes including two knockouts and two submissions.
“We set out to put a world class roster in place ahead of the 2021 season,” said PFL President of Fighter Operations Ray Sefo. “With all 60 fighters in place, I am proud of the work our team has done in creating a group of elite fighters that represent every corner of the world. I can’t wait to see all of these men and women get down to business when we kick off the season on April 23.”
The 2021 PFL season will begin April 23 on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in primetime. The remaining regular season events will take place on April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25.
Professional Fighters League has quickly established itself as the No. 2 MMA company in the world. The league has experienced tremendous YoY growth across digital channels – 68% follower increase on Instagram, 30% total audience growth across digital and a 200% social engagement spike. Domestic linear viewing audience was up 43% in 2019, and the Championship on New Year’s Eve surpassed 500,000 viewers, a 65% YoY increase.